Owning your own home salon business affords you flexibility in choosing your work hours and the services you provide. In addition to all the advantages associated with being your own boss, you never have to worry about your commute.
Start With a Plan
Launching any new business requires a detailed plan. If you'll be applying for bank financing, the institution will want to see your business plan, which should include a description of the business, market analysis, organization (such as sole proprietorship), marketing plan and financial projects. Look online for business plan templates or contact a local office of the Small Business Administration for assistance.
A key part of the plan is determining what services you will offer. Will you limit your business to shampoo and hair cuts, or will you offer a full range of salon services including facials, waxing and nail care? The services you offer will depend largely on your training and licensing. You also need to consider how much space you have and how much money is available to invest in equipment and supplies.
Obtaining a Cosmetology License
All states require licensed cosmetologists to have completed a state-approved training program and get a passing score on written and practical exams. Programs vary in length from eight months to two years. Depending on the school, students receive a certificate or diploma upon successful completion of the program. The cost of cosmetology school can range from $5,000 to $20,000 or more, depending on the institution.
Register and License Your Business
Choose a name for your business and decide whether you will be a sole proprietor or enter into a business partnership with someone else. Obtain a Federal Tax Identification Number, or EIN, through the website of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Business registry requirements vary by state, county and city, so check with local offices with respect to home salon rules and licensing in your location.
All states require specific licensure for anyone providing cosmetology services. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Hair cuts and styling
- Facial and body waxing
- Nail care, including polishing and the application of artificial nails
- Skincare, including makeup application
Home Salon Rules
Licensing and certification requirements for salon services are the same whether you are running a business in your home or outside facility. Be aware that some states, including Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Nebraska and North Carolina, require that salon facilities are separate from the owner's home. Check the laws in your state to determine specific requirements.
With the state rules in mind, you can now decide on a theme for your home salon and select equipment that fits in with your theme. You want customers to be able to distinguish the salon space from the rest of your home. A theme can be as simple as a color scheme. It depends on your space and your budget.
Purchase Salon Equipment
The equipment needed depends on the services you offer. Most salons start by purchasing items from the following list:
- Cart and trolley
- Combs and brushes
- Electronic hair styling and grooming equipment
- Hair styling station
- Hood dryer
- Salon chairs
- Salon station
- Shampoo station
- Scissors and shears
You can expect to spend at least $3,500 to equip your home salon with the basics.
Health Department Inspections
Home salon rules are also governed by each state's health department. As with cosmetology licensing, specifics can vary. Health inspectors typically look for the following:
- Prominent display of licensure
- Source of drinking water away from area used to mix chemicals
- Adequate ventilation, wiring and lighting
- Compliance with building codes
- Separate storage for clean, unused items (such as towels) and soiled items
- Clean, sanitary and safe waste disposal
- Thorough cleaning and sanitizing of equipment and tools after each use
- Compliance with first aid provisions
- Salon Iris: 7 Essential Tips for Starting a Successful Home Salon
- Small Business Administration: Write Your Business Plan
- Cosmetology-License: Cosmetologist State Licensing Requirements
- Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs: Inspection Requirements for Cosmetology Establishment
- Keller International: How to Start a Home Salon
- North Carolina Board of Cosmetic Arts: Salon Checklist
- The Salon Business: The Ultimate Hair Salon Equipment List -- with Prices!
Denise Dayton, M.S., M.Ed. is a freelance writer specializing in careers, education and technology. In addition to writing for corporate clients, she has published articles in Library Journal and The Searcher.